Digital affects all markets, ramps-up development, paves the way for new business models and shifts the balance of traditional value chains.

Thierry Valot
Innovation & Digital Director

Innovating

quicker, cheaper and closer to the market

The current 4th industrial revolution is related to the internet of things, and therefore the connected factory. In light of the hyper-connection of industrial robots and equipment, warehouses and production sites, Fives' innovation efforts are pursuing four objectives, with the aim to widely deploy the industry of the future and smart factories amongst its clients:

  • Improve the productivity of equipment already in service and new equipment
  • Improve the user experience and offer value-added services
  • Address quality issues, particularly in cutting-edge sectors such as aeronautics
  • Skillfully combine machine capacities and human skills

Key
figures

33.6 million in R&D investments
30 R&D and test centers
1952 patents
in 609 families, including 46 filed in 2019

FOCUS

3 questions for Thierry Valot, Innovation & Digital Director

What is Fives’ position regarding the industry of the future?
The Group’s major asset is that we can combine digital and process expertise due to our ability to draw on data developed by our subsidiary Fives CortX. Supervision tools, digital twins and predictive algorithms are just a few of the resources which enable Fives to further enhance its capacity in developing the most advanced equipment that meet the changing needs of manufacturers, and to provide additional preventive maintenance services. At Group level, we offer over 160 digital solutions, including augmented machines, services (simulator training, remote optimization, preventive maintenance), equipment design (sizing and calculation tools) and a customer portal.

Is Fives’ R&D comprised solely on developing new industrial equipment?
We could say the driving principle of Fives innovation is to push the boundaries of production tools and models. Innovation at Fives is not measured solely on the launch of new equipment. It also includes the teams’ ability to incorporate new production constraints or new products.

What are the Group’s activities in composite materials?
Composite materials are instinctively strong, yet lightweight; preferred by the a eronautics industry, as well as other sectors, including renewable energies and biomedical. There are significant development projections for the use of these new materials. Fives supports manufacturers to increase the productivity of their composite part production systems by including in-process inspection and other operations, including drilling and assembly. We have formed partnerships with leading institutions in this field, including IRT Jules Verne in France, and the CNRC in Canada.

Highlights

Fives has created a Digital Committee comprised of its “digital experts”. Its mission is to support the Divisions' digital strategy, particularly through the development of a roadmap, covering both IT tools and the development of innovative solutions, focusing specifically on cybersecurity.
Fives is working with Visiativ Software as part of a joint venture to launch Fives Connect, a customer services platform. Fives Connect is part of the Fives global digital services offer, and includes Fives CortX predictive maintenance and performance tracking solutions.
Find out more
Fives has developed a connection kit, “Gateway”, to connect industrial equipment in an ultra-secure manner. It was adapted for a large number of industrial configurations and facilitates the deployment of predictive maintenance and performance tracking solutions offered by Fives subsidiaries.
Find out more
Fives ECL has implemented a simulator for training employees on handling bridges in electrolytic cells. Similar to a flight for aircraft pilots, this tool allows aluminum industry operators to train and practice 100 operational processes.
Fives has worked in partnership with a car manufacturer to develop an AI-based solution, which helps reduce the camshaft grinding cycle time by 30%. This allows the manufacturer to increase production speeds without investing in a new technology.

FOCUS

Using digital for optimizing services offered to energy companies

In 2019, Fives was involved in a variety of projects, including smart glasses to improve collaboration between its international teams, guide operational workers on-site, reduce the response time at customers’ sites and expedite the setup of delivered equipment. The system is linked to a smartphone application and is currently being tested.

Alongside this project, Fives is working on the connectivity of brazed aluminum exchangers. In the United States, this equipment is used to continually adapt production for market requirements and requires continuous visibility of the thermo-mechanical constraints for maximizing its life span. In 2019, the Group developed and tested data collection and a processing system using smart sensors. Customers can now see production data on dashboards in real time, including temperature variations and exchanger distortion, monitoring their compliance.

Over time, this solution will include artificial intelligence to anticipate failures and offer an associated predictive maintenance service.